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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Robert Preston: Forever the Music Man by Debra Warren is a biography of Robert Preston, an American actor who performed both on stage and in film, and served during World War II as an intelligence officer with the former United States Army Air Forces. Warren has done an exhaustive amount of research and interviews to compile so much about a man who she makes clear was notoriously private. Preston's fame was enshrined after winning a Tony Award for his 1950s performance in The Music Man and his accolades carried through his career, which was recognized further in the 1980s. Warren focuses a great deal on all that occurred in between, including a personal life where his charm transcended the stage and the lesser-known highs and lows that are often overlooked.
Robert Preston: Forever the Music Man is an interesting study of the life of an actor that few outside the entertainment industry now are likely to know of or recognize. I fancy myself as a bit of a movie fanatic but couldn't even place his face, which my wife perhaps a little too firmly stated was remarkably handsome. What Debra Warren has written is the type of work that will, without doubt, become part of a canonical collection of texts about Hollywood history and the people who drove it. It is the type of book that is so deeply informative that it falls into a category that I would be so boldly confident to say should be preserved for its cultural and historical significance. Preston was a complicated man in a complicated industry, but it is the intentionally simplistic ways in which he approached life in general that make his story compelling.